CLEVELAND — An FBI agent who tried to save the life of a 12-year-old boy whom police shot was stunned to learn that officers weren’t properly equipped to help the child, according to a 224-page report that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office released last week.
The agent, who was not identified in the report, recalled his exchange with Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback when Cuyahoga County sheriff”s detectives investigating the Nov. 22 shooting questioned him.
The agent, in the area at the time to follow up on a bank robbery, is trained as a paramedic. He arrived at the scene and found that a bullet had pierced Tamir Rice’s abdomen, exposing part of his small intestine.
He said the boy, who had been shot seconds after Loehmann and Garmback arrived at the city recreation center where he was playing with a pellet gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets, looked at him and reached for his hand.
“I approached the officers. I asked for (whether) they had any first-aid equipment, medical gear,” the agent said, according to the report that was released Saturday. “Anybody that has any of that, bring it over here, and they didn’t have anything. I said, ‘OK, well, rubber gloves.’ A guy threw me a pair of gloves.”
Tamir died at MetroHealth Medical Center.
ust last week, the city received 800 first-aid kits, a result of a February WKYC-TV investigation that revealed the Cleveland Police Department is one of a handful in Northeast Ohio without first-aid gear and ongoing first-aid training.
Eastlake and Lyndhurst, Ohio, also were the only ones of 45 departments without something as simple as a first-aid kit in their police vehicles.
Cleveland squad cars aren’t equipped with first-aid kits or automated external defibrillator machines, used to shock the heart after a heart attack and now available in many workplaces. But city Safety Director Michael McGrath ordered the kits and training after we confronted him following a safety committee meeting at City Hall.
The city paid $80,000 for the kits and said each of the city’s nearly 300 police cars will be equipped with the gear, now a mandate after an agreement between the U.S.Justice Department and the City of Cleveland.
“They are there to protect and serve,” said lawyer Walter Madison, who represents the Tamir Rice estate and Tamir’s father, Leonard Warner. “How can you do either if you don’t have first-aid kits?”
“Who knows what would have happened if the police gave him life-saving measures,” Madison said. “There’s no telling if Tamir would still be here if those officers had acted with the same level of care as you saw in the federal agent.”